Ah, coffee. The lifeblood of the working world, there are just times when you can’t start the day without a cup of that sweet, bitter nectar. The feeling you get when a good quality cup starts to work its magic, connecting those neurons together and lifting you from a sleepy haze is unparalleled. But there’s so much to choose from!
You could settle for instant. Sure, it’s quick and tastes mostly like coffee, but it’s perhaps an inferior cup. You have drip machines, French presses, expensive coffee shops, but there are other ways of getting that fix, and machines that take you from bean all the way to freshly brewed cup represent the drink in its purest form.
So, we’ve rounded up and reviewed a spread of the very best bean to cup coffee machines the industry has to offer, with a wide range of products to make you feel like your own home barista.
|De'Longhi Magnifica ESAM4200
|Sage by Heston Blumenthal BES980UK
|Sage by Heston Blumenthal BES875UK
|De'Longhi ECAM44.660.B Eletta
|Sage by Heston Blumenthal BES810BSS
|De'Longhi Etam 29.660SB
|De'Longhi ESAM2600 Caffe Corso
|Melitta F750-202 BARISTA TS
|Gaggia HD8749/01 Naviglio
Product Quick Links
- 1. De’Longhi Magnifica ESAM4200
- 2. Sage by Heston Blumenthal BES980UK
- 3. Sage by Heston Blumenthal BES875UK
- 4. De’Longhi ECAM44.660B Eletta
- 5. Sage by Heston Blumenthal BES810BSS
- 6. De’Longhi Etam 29.660SB
- 7. De’Longhi ESAM2600 Caffe Corso
- 8. Melitta F750-202 BARISTA TS
- 9. De’Longhi ESAM2800.SB
- 10. Gaggia HD8749/01 Naviglio
- Which Coffee Machine should I pick?
- Bean to Cup Coffee Machine Buying Guide
Prime among De’Longhi’s extensive range of coffee machines is the Magnifica. A stylish but relatively inexpensive choice, the quality of the coffee this thing produces is equivalent to that of a far pricier machine.
The user interface is simple, offering a number of one-touch settings for a variety of different drink styles at the press of a button. Tailoring the process to make your ideal coffee is slick and deft, with simple control knobs to adjust the strength and pour length.
The built-in bean grinder is equally adjustable, allowing you to set it as coarse or smooth as per your personal preference, the spout allows for the pouring of two espressos at the same time, and there’s even a built-in milk frother. So, if experimenting with milk and froth is up your street, then you’re in luck here.
One of a line of coffee makers from the mind of eccentric chef Heston Blumenthal, this top-of-the-line model by Sage features a remarkably smooth, polished design, married with other high tech features to ensure the best coffee possible.
Automation is at the heart of this model, with the automatic grinder dosing and tamping the beans as well, ensuring to a high level of precision that only the correct amount is ground and compressed within the machine. Water temperature (thanks to a dual boiler) and the milk frothing wand are also automated, to guarantee a high and consistent standard of coffee each time. A clever valve system also controls the pressure during extraction, a process which prevents unpleasant bitterness creeping into your brew.
All in all, this is a premium product, whose features are advanced enough to justify the price tag and have it stand among the barista-standard machines available at home.
Coming with more of a retro look compared to others in the range, this collaboration between Sage and Heston Blumenthal builds on advanced technology housed inside a polished stainless steel exterior. Both futuristic and yet vintage, the control dials and buttons allow for simple fine-tuning of different settings. The coarseness of grind, the strength of the dosage are easily controlled, with other functions a simple button-press away.
Clever design elements, including the heating systems, work to heat up quickly (lending a much cleaner taste), as well as maintaining the temperature of water throughout coffee extraction. With these, you can rest assured your brew will come out smooth and at the perfect temperature. A built-in steamer wand also gives you plenty of opportunities to experiment with milk frothing.
The Eletta from De’Longhi is among the most compact of the coffee machines, but don’t let its size fool you; with a surprisingly high 2 litre capacity (for water) and a number of advanced design features, this is a tremendous appliance.
Among the intuitive technology is the memory function. Once you’ve perfected your ideal blend of milk, coffee and the relative quantities of each, the Eletta stores that information to re-make your ideal cup at the touch of a button. Presets do also exist for a wide range of different drinks as well, but you have the freedom to experiment and micro-adjust.
Automatic rinse and descaling programmes contribute further to the user-friendly components, and a removable milk carafe means you can always bank on fresh milk for your coffee.
One of the cheaper coffee machines on the spectrum, the ‘Duo’ is nonetheless packed full of quality aspects. A very simple, straightforward layout features a steam/hot water button, allowing you to quickly switch between the two for supreme ease of use. The dial on the front also works smoothly, facilitating a rapid adjustment between activating the steam wand or espresso settings.
It’s also well-constructed, with a stainless-steel body lending a classy look as well as promising durability. Other parts are also built from high grade, high-density plastics which are not only durable but a similar quality to professional units.
All in all, this is a no-fuss bundle that keeps temperature accurately controlled and provides easy adjustment to give consistent, quality coffee.
The almost space-age Etam from De’Longhi is a small, yet undeniably powerful machine. It’s built with some great functions, with the capacity to personalise your coffee extending to how strong it is, how long it pours for, and even the temperature, all from the un-cluttered digital display. Should you like your brews milky, there’s also an automatic integrated milk carafe, specially engineered to produce silky smooth milk. This is also removable to make cleaning and keeping the milk fresh a breeze.
Another real plus for the Etam is a silent integrated grinder, adjustable to 13 different settings. With a wide range of coffee styles merely a button press away, this is a seriously good coffee maker.
The Caffe Corso represents tremendous value for money in the world of bean-to-cup machines. Sharing many of the same features as much more expensive options, the straightforward dual-dial system makes tailoring the strength and pour time of your coffee as easy as could be. So you’ll spend longer drinking the coffee than you will tinkering with it.
Notably, it also has a very quick delivery, delivering espressos in seconds, and the generously sized water reservoir pops out for cleaning without issue. The grinding unit and drip tray are also easily accessed for cleaning. All in all, this is a solid coffee maker for the money.
Sleek and polished, Melitta’s offering into the bean-to-cup market is an investment in good quality coffee. It excels through its accessibility, offering 21 preset blends and recipes which can be reached through a stylish touch display. Up to 8 people can also customise and save their ideal drink.
2 cups can also be poured simultaneously, and the spout is adjustable to accommodate larger cups if needed. Another neat feature comes from the dual bean hoppers, meaning that you can have two different varieties of coffee bean in the machine at any one time, perfect for when you want to mix it up a little. The built-in milk frother also allows for easily blending your own milky coffees too.
If you’re looking for high-quality coffee without breaking the bank, then De’Longhi’s ESAM ought to be high up on your list. Representing a great balance between refinement in design and top functionality, the straightforward controls make the perfect coffee incredibly easy.
Featuring a professional-standard integrated bean grinder, with 7 different coarseness settings, the ESAM is capable of bringing a café-esque coffee from your fresh beans of choice (although grounds are suitable too). The milk frother/steam wand also ensures flexibility in creating different styles of drink.
It’s also always ready to go, with an instant reheating system that keeps the machine’s core at the correct temperature. However, a neat auto-shutoff means that it maintains good energy efficiency. Ultimately, a quality and user-friendly experience.
Gaggia’s Naviglio offers innovation while keeping in with traditional standards for coffee. If just one cup at a time is not your style, you’re comfortably covered here. A quick-heating boiler makes brewing cups after cups a piece of cake.
Fine adjustments to your coffee are straightforward too. The LED interface, with a single dial for strength, and other one-touch buttons for a variety of presets, mean you can customise without issue. Whether it’s a black coffee, or something milky utilising the milk frother/hot water spout, modifying and experimenting is easy. The ceramic grinder unit, with 5 levels of coarseness to choose from, also ensures that the aroma of the beans remains pure.
With the internals, such as the water reservoir, removable and dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning, it’s hard to go wrong with the Gaggia.
Which Coffee Machine should I pick?
Best quality & features – De’Longhi’s ECAM44.660B Eletta is the winner on test here, thanks to both a wide array of functions that are highly accessible and absolutely great coffee on top of that. Different elements, such as the 13 grinding settings, or the easily navigated digital display with a memory function and range of customizable options, combine to keep the coffee-making process effortless. Far from being all show and no tell, it’s also hard to knock the sheer quality of the brews this can put out. Whether it’s a simple espresso or a more advanced drink with much longer names, you can be sure that the Eletta will handle it.
On a budget – The De’Longhi Caffee Corso coffee maker stands as the best budget choice in the list. Even with coming in at the lowest retail price of this range, the product features and design give it the impression of a far pricier machine. As such, for those on a budget, or those not sure where to begin with bean-to-cup, you’d be hard-pushed to find a better choice.
Best compact option – The Sage by Heston Blumenthal BES810BSS is the top pick of this range for those looking for a quality machine that comes in a smaller package. Bean-to-cup machines can be somewhat on the large size, with integrated water reservoirs, bean grinders and hoppers, and even milk carafes, but this model still manages to pack plenty of good features into its modest volume. It is also the lightest on test, despite the durable stainless-steel body, so for those of you with a craving for coffee but less space in which to house a machine, you can’t go far wrong with this one.
Best coffee – The Sage by Heston Blumenthal BES980UK is the choice for those who want the very best coffee without compromise. Occupying the high end of the pricing spectrum, the ‘Oracle’ justifies its cost by producing brews so noticeably better than the rest, you might just double take (and then have another cup).
The premium investment comes with myriad clever features that all contribute to the high quality; automation from grinding, dosing, pouring, milk texturing; a clever dual boiler system keeping temperature consistent; a pressuring system that maintains the bean flavor from grind to pour; and even a customer service program that sends company employees to your home to show you how it works.
This is a no-holds-barred purchase, producing fantastic coffee that meets, or even exceeds, the standards of coffee shops everywhere.
Best looking machine – Melitta’s F750-202 Barista TS is a victory for style, although far from style over substance. While some prefer the more traditional, vintage look, some coffee machines have a tendency to look a little clunky and heavy. Not so with the Melitta. It would be hard to argue that the sleek black finish doesn’t look top notch, with smooth lines and curves at every point. A touch display, with edgeless buttons and sliders, next to the bold, clear display, makes this a sharp addition to any home.
Best customising – The Magnifica ESAM4200 from De’Longhi offers a huge range of customisable options, making it the best choice if you want to experiment with lots of different styles of coffee. Fine tuning the grind coarseness is a cinch with the adjustable knob, and the milk frother/steam wand works smoothly for you to have a go with different milk styles. There are at last 10 basic recipe presets for you to play with, so if you like t have it your way, the Magnifica is for you.
Bean to Cup Coffee Machine Buying Guide
When you’re in the market for making your own coffee from scratch, from the bean, through the grinding process until you’ve brewed your cup just the way you like it, there’s a lot to choose from. Each different coffee machine is a little different; the levels of fine-tuning possible with grind coarseness, temperature, and what you can do with milk; is it easy to use, or more a product for a trained barista; and not least of all, the quality of coffee will vary from machine to machine. These are all things that hold great importance if you’re investing in your home barista station.
Balancing cost, a user-friendly experience, and overall quality of products are all things to consider, among a few others. Therefore, you’ll find some answers down below to help you make the decision on which machine is right for you.
Does it make good coffee?
Everything on this list absolutely produces good coffee. But naturally there is always a variance, and not always related to the time-honoured correlation between price and quality. For the very best money can buy, there is a more substantial investment. But there are equally a lot of products that can offer something equivalent to, or even better than, your local café.
Of course, quality is subjective. The question to ask here is ‘which gives you adjustability?’, because that way, the more freedom you have to make the perfect cup of coffee, to your standards. But it’s not all up to your preference, as finding a balance between how consistently the machine heats the brews, the evenness of grinds and even the extent to which it maintains pressure during the pour will all play a big part too.
How easy is it to clean?
Coffee grounds can be a pain, let’s face it. They don’t dissolve and are very good at getting into all the little crevices of your coffee maker. So you’d be wise to invest in something that makes cleaning up this kind of thing as straightforward as possible.
The majority of modern coffee makers do come with easily removable drip trays for the used grounds, but it can be key to make sure you get a product with a bean hopper that also facilitates cleaning. The grinding process often leaves some residue over, so you risk mixing the old with the new in terms of your beans and grounds. As long as the bean hopper is easily reached, and/or removable this ought not to be an issue.
For some units, automatic cleaning cycles are a built-in feature. Even better is when the machines come with helpful reminders, be it through a simple LED that lights up when it’s time to clean or a notification on the digital displays of more advanced machines. This makes running the cleaning cycle a breeze, leaving you with the peace of mind not to worry whether it’s time to clean again. Even if there isn’t an auto cycle, removable parts are often way more convenient to clean, and in many cases, these parts are dishwasher safe.
Is it simple to use?
A lot of coffee makers can, well, look a bit daunting. Buttons, handles, screens, and all the bells and whistles you might not have 100% heard of can be something of an obstacle. Thankfully, many coffee makers have addressed this, with one-touch functionality playing a big role in many products.
Being able to tailor your coffee is often a big thing, but sometimes you might want the opposite so that you don’t have to think about it for too long when you want to have a go with a different recipe. As such, many machines come pre-loaded with a variety of preset recipes, so that you can try all the many different drinks that are tricky to pronounce with ease.
Some brands do also have famously good customer service, so if you’re struggling with a certain feature or function, help (and by extension your next cup of dreamy coffee) is never far away.
Choosing the right bean-to-cup coffee maker can take a long time, with so much to choose from in terms of features, cost and their balance with quality. So whether you just want coffee at the touch of a button, or you’re a perfectionist who is perfectly at home tinkering with the very finest points of your brew, you’re sure to find an answer here.
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